Rugby

Italy confirm Mallett exit

2011-04-23 19:55
Nick Mallett (File)

Rome - The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) on Saturday confirmed that South African coach Nick Mallett will not be asked to continue in his role beyond the World Cup in New Zealand in September and October.

Mallett took over the role from Frenchman Pierre Berbizier following the last World Cup in France in 2007, being handed a four-year deal.

But rumours earlier this year suggested that Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel was being lined up to take over from Mallett.

And although the FIR didn't reveal who Mallett's successor will be, they did put an end to the speculation over the South African's future.

"The federation has taken the decision not to continue the relationship with Nick Mallett beyond the engagement in the autumn," said an FIR statement.

"(It is) due to previous experience of how a relationship between a coach and the national team that lasts more than four years might not produce the expected results."

Italy won just three out of 20 Six Nations matches under Mallett including the historic 22-21 victory at home to France this season.

His record was marginally better than Italy's Six Nations record before he arrived - five wins and one draw in 40 matches - but that has not proved enough for the Federation.

Mallett also oversaw November test victories against Fiji and Samoa in the last two years while his tourists beat Argentina in Cordoba in June 2008.

Back in January Brunel told his Perpignan players he will be leaving at the end of the season, despite having a contract that runs to June 2012.

"I've thought about it for many weeks but this Italian offer is unique at my age," the 57-year-old said at the time.

"It will certainly be the last that I can take on. I want to seize this opportunity."

However, Brunel then seemed to take a backwards step by claiming he had not actually been offered the job.

"I'm in the position of someone who can apply," he said.

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